Get Started With Marketing Automation Before It’s Too Late

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At the moment, the technological possibilities are growing so fast that you have the feeling like you always walk behind. Self-driving cars, Virtual Reality, and Smart Homes become a reality more quickly than you think. While marketing gurus describe a bright future in automation for you, putting it into practice is often difficult. Few companies are already taking structured steps in the field of marketing automation. Where do you start?

“The robots take over everything.”

Marketing automation is unknown territory for most companies. So it takes courage to make room for marketing automation in the strategy of the company. In this process resistance often arises, because:

  1. you do not have everything in your hand anymore and
  2. some employees are responsible for tasks that are taken away by automation.

Fear is a bad counselor, but it is important to convince the business of the usefulness of marketing automation. In the blog, we mainly mention examples of marketing automation for email campaigns, but of course, automation can be used multichannel.

Marketing automation is a marathon, not a sprint

So-called marketing gurus can tell you a beautiful story, but in practice, the implementation of marketing automation takes time, money and effort. Here are two main reasons for:

  • Continuous process aimed at the recipient

Despite the fact that you only organize marketing automation campaigns once, it is important to test the campaigns continually. Refreshing, optimizing and regularly thinking about improvements is essential. Listening to your customers is critical here. You can do this, for example, by actively asking from email what recipients of the campaigns find. You can also manage the open, click and logout percentages of these campaigns. In this way, you control the behavior of the receiver in several ways.

  • Major projects that are becoming increasingly complex

Despite a modest beginning, dreams are often getting bigger. Marketing automation not only affects marketing but also has an impact on other parts of the organization. Particularly within B2B organizations, profit can be achieved in the process from prospect to customer. What automated methods can you use to build a relationship with your leads? Take your lead by hand by offering relevant content, at the right time, tailored to the (information) need. Also, complex links between different systems are required for marketing automation to succeed. These links do not stop with your CRM system but are increasingly expanding to your CMS, PIM, DMP, GA and other tools. Here too, you extend it step by step. With the final goal in mind, you create a roadmap to successively carry out the projects that take you to the desired situation.

Do not stop at the first successful case regarding marketing automation, but develop through and grow from the base to an even better operation.

From children’s shoes to seven-mile boots

Marketing automation is still in its infancy in most companies, and all good things are coming slowly. This does not mean, however, that you first have to think about the most complex marketing campaign that you can think of for 4 months. The risk here is that you only start sharing the first results within the organization after a year. By starting small and immediately starting testing, you collect data that helps you to improve the automation process and provide evidence. This is how marketing automation activities are slowly but surely growing. So just start.

Failing with appointments?

Imagine a barbershop with an online appointment form. Nothing is more annoying and expensive than having an appointment, where the customer does not show up. ‘No-show percentages’ are (unfortunately) high, and this is detrimental to a business. In this reserved time, employees could have delivered value in a different way. You know which people have an appointment, of which you also have the contact details. Consider, for example, the 07 number or an email address. Before you set up a very automated process to improve the appointment process, you first need to provide evidence and test.

From proof to automation

To lower the no-show percentage, you can set up a test in which you can send a reminder email or text message manually to a visitor a day in advance. If it turns out that the no-show percentage drops (significantly), you have a good reason to automate this process. For example, you can reserve a budget for a link between the Email Service Provider (ESP) and the back-end system for sending more personal emails to customers. This is possible by using the collected customer data.

Preconditions for good marketing automation

The following organizational areas are important in the development of marketing automation within your organization:

  • People

Within the business, it is vital that there is a dedicated team that is responsible for further development. Usually, this is an online, email or CRM marketer in combination with the marketing and sales team. Make sure that these functions are present within the organization when you start. Certification of tools and deepening in Agile methods accelerate success. Besides, it is important to work well together.

  • Tools

You can avoid investing in tools (e.g., email marketing tools/data management platforms, marketing cloud solutions) that can meet marketing automation needs. One of the most important things is that data becomes a primary part of your marketing implementation and then automates this. If you want to go beyond these standards, a critical view of your marketing technology landscape is required. Which tools are included and which ones are being replaced? The most important is the database structure, linking options and flexibility in the various templates.

  • Management

An optimal implementation of marketing automation requires management with confidence. Do not give up on disappointments. The team must further develop from trust and vision. In addition, it is the management’s job to keep a finger on the pulse. Within the implementation of marketing automation, choices are often made that have a broader influence on other parts of the organization. Make someone responsible for the success.

  • Customer focus and ‘data counseling.’

To get into successful marketing, you have to get to know the customer. However, do not think it’s too big in the beginning. You are probably already collecting data from your customers. Think about how you can use this for a good campaign. Do you know how old your customer is, where it lives, how its family composition is or when it became the first customer? This data helps you start small with data from your customers.

  • Objectives

Marketing automation is not an end in itself. It has to contribute something. Make sure you do not become rudderless but work with KPIs to which the campaigns must contribute. something A useful control method is a funnel in which you see the entire flow. How many people have received the campaign seen before reaching the conversion point? That way you also know where people drop out and where you need to pay attention. It does not stop with setting goals. Monitor them in a clear dashboard and act on the insights that you get out of them. Keep testing for a better result.

Get started!

A good combination of these preconditions will undoubtedly ensure that you take steps with your marketing automation strategy. Ensure the right balance between them and dare to make mistakes. But the most important thing is that you first have to provide evidence that the strategy really works. Think of pragmatism and make it small. Develop from there continuously with follow-up steps and from there create an added value in the marketing strategy of your organization.

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